An Early Boost
The main stress hormones that appear to have an impact on immune competence are released before and during surgery, Prof. Ben-Eliyahu has found. He is currently developing a novel intervention program, based on existing generic drugs, to block the influence of these hormones.
Pre-clinical studies in a 2005 study also published in Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity reveal that by blocking these stress hormones, cancer metastases in animal models could be reduced. In a recent study (in progress), Prof. Ben-Eliyahu also found that by blocking these hormones, he could increase long-term post-operative survival rates from cancer in animal models, by as much as 200-300 percent.
Prof. Ben-Eliyahu and his students are now also trying to integrate stimulation of the immune system just before surgery and prevent its suppression. This may provide the immune system with an opportunity to eradicate cancer residuals after the surgical removal of the primary tumor, and before these residuals are re-established and become resistant to immunity, he says.
Prof. Ben-Eliyahu concludes, By boosting the immune system and blocking its suppression by psychological and physiological stress, starting a day or two before surgery, during surgery and after surgery, we may be able to provide an intervention program that can extend peoples lives and potentially increase their chances for long-term survival.
He plans on starting clinical trials within the next year or two.
Prof. Ben-Eliyahu is one of about 200 other scientists working in the novel and emerging field of Psychoneuroimmunology. It is an interdisciplinary study of the interaction between the psychological processes of the brain, and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. In this field, Prof. Ben-Eliyahu collaborates regularly with Prof. Gayle Page from the Johns
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University